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Does having higher impedance correlate directly to better sound quality?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

When given the option to buy a headset in varying impedance models, why would you buy the 600 ohm versions? How does strictly higher impedance affect sound?

post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phearzmeh View Post
 

When given the option to buy a headset in varying impedance models, why would you buy the 600 ohm versions? How does strictly higher impedance affect sound?


Short answer is 'no' :p

 

Impedance is a much misunderstood topic (I know it confused the hell out of me when I first started looking at headphones!) High impedance headphones were originally intended for studio use, but manufacturers have since started marketing them at audiophiles.

 

Here's a good article, written by some forum members:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/headphone-impedance

post #3 of 18

I wonder if there's any information regarding impedance with reference to different transducer types (balanced armature, orthodynamic etc)?

post #4 of 18

It has more to do with what a manufacturer would rather deal with, since low or high impedance each have their advantages and disadvantages. Low impedance means that on a lot of amps you might be drawing more power, great if the drivers to begin with might not be that efficient,  but go too low and you can have problems when the transient bass notes take the impedance well below the nominal rating, so you'll end up needing more current. A high impedance headphone will not have this issue nor incompatibility with high output impedance amps, but even with an efficient driver that can drop the output power on most sources and even amps that you'd get well below the output power you need and probably at too high THD.

post #5 of 18
High or low impedance is certainly not a measure of quality either way!
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

High or low impedance is certainly not a measure of quality either way!


^^^ and this is one of the forumers who wrote that great article on impedance I linked to earlier :D

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phearzmeh View Post
 

When given the option to buy a headset in varying impedance models, why would you buy the 600 ohm versions? How does strictly higher impedance affect sound?

 

Nope, one of my best sounding headphones is only 40-Ohms.

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinnottj View Post


^^^ and this is one of the forumers who wrote that great article on impedance I linked to earlier " src="http://files.head-fi.org/images/smilies/biggrin.gif">

 




Oh...busted!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Wow thanks for the replies guys! I was also worried that because the Philips fidelio x1 has low impedance it might not be a good long term investment. This is really reassuring though! 
The head-fi community rocks :dt880smile:

post #10 of 18
The Noble PR, has both a high impedance driver and a low impedance driver, and u can select which driver u want to listen to via a switch on the face plate. ( a great a/b comparison opportunity )

The Wizard

Here at Noble, we craft some of the finest universal and custom in-ear monitors available today. 

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post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phearzmeh View Post
 

Wow thanks for the replies guys! I was also worried that because the Philips Fidelio x1 has low impedance it might not be a good long term investment. This is really reassuring though! 
The head-fi community rocks :dt880smile:

 

The 30-Ohm headphones like the Philips Fidelio X1s need very little power to be driving. I'm sure my $27 FiiO E6 headphone amplifier could easy do it (or a portable mp3 player).

But you want to use (at least prefer to use) a very low impedance headphone amplifier to drive them, like a headphone amplifier with an output impedance of around 4-Ohms or less.

What sources are you going to be plugging the Fidelios into?

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

At the moment i don't have an amp nor do I know much about them. All I know really is that the o2 style amps are in the ideal price/performance range. I'm pretty new to this kind of stuff. So I guess the only thing I would be plugging it into right now would be my desktop.

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phearzmeh View Post
 

At the moment I don't have an amp nor do I know much about them. All I know really is that the o2 style amps are in the ideal price/performance range. I'm pretty new to this kind of stuff. So I guess the only thing I would be plugging it into right now would be my desktop.

 

The O2 amplifiers can easily drive 30-Ohm headphones

And the O2 amplifiers have an output impedance of less then 1-Ohm :)

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

The O2 amplifiers can easily drive 30-Ohm headphones

And the O2 amplifiers have an output impedance of less then 1-Ohm :)

What happens when the output impedance exceeds ~8x the ohms of the head phones? I tried reading the forum post above but this part is a little beyond me.

post #15 of 18

No, my best sounding earphone / headphone only has 9 ohm impedance. :D

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